TOP PERSONAL INJURY FIRM IN LOS ANGELES

Los Angeles Birth Injury Lawyer

The birth of a child should be a joyous occasion for the baby’s family. However, when a newborn baby is injured during birth, a family can be left facing the tragic results of a delivery gone wrong. A serious birth injury can cause severe or permanent damage to a child’s brain or nerves, causing them to need intensive medical treatment or even lifelong medical care.

A birth injury can be caused by a variety of issues, including medical malpractice. In California, medical professionals owe their patients a high standard of care, including during the birthing process. When a birth injury is caused by the negligent actions of a medical practitioner, California’s medical malpractice laws allow families to seek justice for their losses by filing a medical malpractice claim or lawsuit. While no amount of compensation can erase the physical damage and emotional trauma caused by a birth injury, recovering compensation through a birth injury claim or lawsuit can give a family access to the resources they need to provide their baby with the best possible medical care throughout their lifetime.

At LA Lawyers Group, we understand the heartbreaking effects a birth injury can have on a family. We also understand how California’s complex medical malpractice laws can help victims recover justice when a preventable birth injury occurs. Our birth injury attorneys work tirelessly for our clients who are pursuing justice in this more challenging type of medical malpractice case. Our team fights to help our clients protect their rights and recover the maximum compensation possible under California law. Our birth injury attorneys can help families dealing with a variety of birth injuries, including cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, and kernicterus.

If your family is dealing with the consequences of a birth injury that occured due to medical professional’s bad decisions, contact LA Lawyers today to receive a free case evaluation. Our dedicated, compassionate birth injury lawyers can help you better understand your legal options and work to protect your best interests.
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What is a birth injury?

What is a Birth Injury?

A birth injury is any type of harm that a baby suffers during or near the time of their birth. In the medical field, a birth injury may also be called a birth trauma. A birth injury can be caused by many things, including premature birth, fetal oxygen deprivation, and medical negligence. 

When defining a birth injury, it’s important to point out that a birth injury is not the same thing as a birth defect. The terms birth injury and birth defect are sometimes confused for one another and used interchangeably, but these two things are not the same. A birth defect is a health condition or illness that forms while an infant is still in the womb during the pregnancy process, while a birth injury is an injury that occurs during the labor or delivery process to an otherwise healthy baby. The key difference between a birth injury and a birth defect is that birth defects are already present before the birth, while a birth injury occurs due to the birth.

Types of Medical Negligence That May Cause of Birth Injuries

Birth injuries can be caused by Insufficient or improper medical care that occurs before birth, during birth, or shortly after birth. Some examples of medical negligence that can lead to birth injuries include: 

  • Failure to Diagnose and Treat Medical Issues Prior to Delivery
  • Failure to Diagnose Maternal Medical Conditions 
  • Failure to Identify and Plan for High-Risk Deliveries 
  • Failure to Identify and Treat Umbilical Cord Issues 
  • Failure to Order a Medically Necessary Cesarean Section 
  • Failure to Respond to Fetal Distress
  • Failure to Respond to Unexpected Bleeding
  • Improper Use of Cytotec 
  • Improper Use of Forceps
  • Improper Use of Pitocin 
  • Improper Use of Suction 
  • Medication Errors 
  • Neglecting Heart Rate Monitors During Delivery
Types of Medical Negligence That May Cause of Birth Injuries
Common Types of Birth Injuries

Birth injuries can range widely in severity. A birth injury can be as mild as minor bruising or as severe as permanent brain damage. A newborn baby may recover from mild birth injuries, but can be left dealing with the consequences of more severe birth injuries for the rest of their life.

Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a motor disability that is caused by abnormal brain development or damage to the developing brain. While most cases of cerebral palsy are thought to begin before or after birth, it’s estimated that around 10 to 25 percent of cases are caused by injury during birth. Cerebral palsy can be the result of oxygen deprivation during the birthing process, which most often happens when a baby gets stuck in the birth canal or behind the mother’s pelvis during birth. If a baby’s oxygen supply gets cut off during the birthing process, they can experience brain cell death, which can cause permanent mental and/or physical issues or disabilities.
Erb’s Palsy
Erb’s palsy is a paralysis of the arm that is caused by injury to the upper part of the brachial plexus, which is a group of nerves that comes from the spinal cord in the neck and travels down the arm. Erb’s palsy most commonly occurs due to shoulder dystocia, which is when a baby’s shoulder gets caught above its mother’s pubic bone during birth. Unlike cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy is not always permanent. Depending on the extent of the damage that causes Erb’s palsy, it may resolve on it’s own or be treated with physical therapy or surgery.
Klumpke’s Palsy
Klumpke’s palsy is a type of paralysis that can affect the arms, wrists, and fingers. Klumpke’s palsy is caused by injury to the lower part of the brachial plexus, which can be damaged during a difficult birth. Depending on the extent of the injury to an infant’s brachial plexus, they may recover on their own, require surgery, or have some permanent damage to their arms, wrists, or fingers.
Kernicterus
Kernicterus is a rare type of neonatal brain injury that can occur when there is excessive bilirubin in the baby’s blood, which generally occurs due to untreated jaundice. Kernicterus is permanent and can cause a variety of medical issues, including cerebral palsy and hearing loss.
Caput Succedaneum
Caput succedaneum is a type of severe scalp swelling that can occur during birth. Most often, caput succedaneum occurs due to the prolonged pressure that occurs during a difficult delivery. Caput succedaneum will typically resolve on its own, but it may lead to jaundice, which can cause serious complications if left untreated.
Bone Injury
An infant’s bones can be injured due to physical trauma that occurs during birth. For example, a baby’s bones can be broken if they become trapped in the birthing canal. The most common bone broken during birth is the collarbone, but any bone could break during birth. Fortunately, bone injuries are something an infant can typically recover from with proper treatment.
Signs of a Birth Injury

Signs of a Birth Injury

The signs and symptoms of a birth injury may appear immediately following the birth, but may sometimes not be evident until later in childhood. The symptoms of a birth injury can become more obvious as a child ages, either because they have begun to miss important developmental milestones or because they are more clearly showing physical signs of brain or nerve damage. 

Some symptoms of a birth injury that may be seen immediately after delivery include: 

  • Seizures 
  • Skull Fractures 
  • Difficulty Suckling or Swallowing 
  • Low Oxygen Levels 
  • Lowered Heart Rate
  • Excessive Drooling
  • Hand Curling Into a Claw-Like Shape
  • Weak Reflexes 
  • Muscle Stiffness 
  • Muscle Looseness 
  • Lethargy
  • Light Sensitivity 
  • Arched Back While Crying
  • Excessive Fussiness for Unknown Reasons
  • Favoring One Side of the Body

Some symptoms of a birth injury that may be seen around 12 to 24 months in age include:

  • Difficulties Crawling or Walking Normally
  • Intellectual Disabilities, Such as Memory Issues or Difficulty Problem Solving
  • Spasticity (Stiffened or Tightened Muscles) 
  • Lack of Muscle Control or Coordination
  • Delay in Speech Development
  • Difficulty Eating or Drinking
  • Difficulty Grasping Objects

Some symptoms of a birth injury that may not be recognizable until after 2 years of age include:

  • Jerky Reflexes 
  • Onset of Developmental Disabilities 
  • Language Delays 
  • Difficulties Eating, Drinking, or Dressing 
  • Inability to Draw Straight Lines 
  • Difficulties Using Stairs 
  • Blindness, Deafness, or Muteness
  • Tremors
  • Hypertonia (Excess Muscle Tone Causing Stiffness) 

Whenever the symptoms of a birth injury come to your attention, whether it’s right after birth or during your child’s toddler years, it’s important to seek medical care as soon as possible. Having birth injury symptoms does not always mean that a child has sustained a birth injury, as birth injury symptoms may overlap with the symptoms of other medical conditions. However, it’s important to seek medical treatment immediately when a child is showing signs of a birth injury so that a medical professional can provide prompt diagnosis and treatment. Treating medical issues early can help patients avoid complications, whether these medical issues are tied to a birth injury or another issue.

Damages Available in a California Birth Injury Case

When a birth injury occurs due to medical negligence, the infant’s family may be able to recover damages for their losses. Generally, a family in a birth injury case can pursue economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages are meant to compensate a family for their economic losses, such as their medical expenses. Non-economic damages are meant to compensate a family for their non-economic losses, such as their emotional distress. In California, non-economic damages are capped at $250,000 for medical malpractice cases, including those involving birth injuries. However, there is no maximum amount a family could receive for their economic losses. 

In rare cases, the plaintiff in a birth injury case could be awarded punitive damages on top of other damages, such as their economic and non-economic damages. Punitive damages are a type of compensation that is awarded by a judge to punish a defendant for particularly egregious behavior. If a judge rules that a defendant has acted with “oppression, fraud, or malice,” they may decide to award punitive damages to a plaintiff.

Get Help From a Los Angeles Birth Injury Law Firm

If your family is dealing with the consequences of a birth injury caused by medical negligence, contact LA Lawyers Group today for a free consultation. The team at our Los Angeles personal injury law firm is here to help birth injury victims from across Southern California recover justice for the immense losses they’ve suffered. Our law office represents injury victims from across Los Angeles County, including those from Burbank, Glendale, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Riverside, Pasadena, and Woodland Hills.

Call our personal injury law firm today at (213)LAWYERS (529-9377) to receive your free consultation with one of our Los Angeles birth injury lawyers.

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